What’s the point of cars with Wi-Fi?

In car Wi-Fi has crossed my mind a few times lately as I’ve read news stories about texting while driving and the usability of some hands free systems. It’s interesting to think about how much technology we use in our daily lives and how important staying connected has become. Looking to capitalize on that, new car manufacturers are looking for ways to integrate Wi-Fi solutions into their vehicles. It only makes sense that people would want internet all around them but is a cars hot spot the answer?

I’m really having trouble understanding the point of an in car Wi-Fi system. I’m a technology buff at heart and love to see progression towards better products in the auto industry but this expensive option really seems like more of a gimmick then something usable. Fact is smart phones are growing at a rate no one can keep up with, it’s now to the point when even your grandmother may show up at your house to show off her new iPhone. Almost everyone is connected to the internet at all times. So the auto manufacturer would have you believe that paying for a mobile solution a 2nd time in your car would make sense.

Fact is almost every mobile phone in the world has internet access and so many smart phones also have the ability to act as a mobile hot spot. With your phone as a Wi-Fi hot spot you can use it virtually anywhere while taking advantage of your carrier’s huge cellular network. With a car’s hotspot your limited to a much smaller carrier plus you’re limited to sitting inside your car. Realistically how will you even take advantage of in car Wi-Fi if you’re the one driving? I’m all for having internet enabled cars for the entertainment system and integrated apps but paying extra for a stand along hot spot seems a little silly if you ask me.

So if you’re out shopping for a new car and the crafty sales guy is trying to sell you on a $500 Wi-Fi option plus a $40 or more monthly fee make sure you think long and hard about that decision. You’re probably better off exploring whatever options your cell carrier has to offer.

How To: 06 Altima Window Switch Removal / Install

In this write up we’ll be showing you how to remove the master driver’s side window switch. This is a really easy DIY job that doesn’t take long to do. The car we’re working on is a 2006 Nissan Altima but this switch also interchanges with a 2005 Altima. This can be done in minutes with just a screw driver or trim panel removal tool.

Tools Needed

Flat head screw driver or Trim panel removal tool

Disconnect your Battery – Always remove the negative terminal of your battery before working on your car. This will keep you and your cars electronics safe while you do repairs. Remember that you could potentially have to re-enter your radio code after reconnecting the battery so be sure to have that handy. Radio presets, seat memory, trip computers and info screens may also lose information and presets when you disconnect the battery.

Step one

Using a trim panel removal tool or screw driver, gently pry up on the end of the window switch. If you’re using a screw driver, a rubberized one is better but use extra caution with a screw driver. It’s very easy to crack the trim if you use too much force.

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Auto Biz 101 : Make $$ with your Guarantee Policy


Working with both our commercial customers and our retail customers has taught us a lot about people and what they expect from us. In business, trust can be the difference between making money and failing miserably. If our customers can’t trust us and the parts we provide then no one wins. It takes a lot to build trust when we make a sale, the tone of our voice, delivery time, condition of the part and problem resolution all play into what makes our customers trust what we do.

Whether your shop is 30 years old or 30 days old, you’ve probably got something on your wall to build trust with your customers. A diploma, ASE certificate, Better Business Bureau sign, Association acknowledgments, maybe even magazine articles. Whatever it is the purpose is to build trust between you and your customer. Often times when a consumer needs a repair done to their car it can be a stressful and intimidating experience. Our job as parts sellers, mechanics, sales people, or body guys is to lessen the stress and intimidation of having service done.

Look at those signs and certifications you have plastered all over the wall. What are they saying to your customers? Are they doing anything to give the customer piece of mind? Accreditation and acknowledgement of your shops achievements is always important but you may be missing the boat on a huge trust building opportunity. Offer your customer something they can relate to. Create a MONEY BACK policy and display it proudly in your show room.

You’re only as good as your word in business and offering a Money Back Guarantee policy can do wonders to back up the high service level you’re already providing. Use the word MONEY and the dollar sign $$, these are things people can relate to. A satisfaction guarantee is good but a MONEY $$ BACK $$ GUARANTEE is better. Create a policy that makes sense to your business, a policy that you won’t lose your shirt on if you have to deliver on it. Having a money back guarantee will comfort a potential customer and makes it easier for them to trust you with their hard earned cash.

Money Back is a scary phrase for a business owner but it’s a risk worth taking. Remember nothing is permanent and trying out a Money Back Guarantee is well worth the risk. If it doesn’t work for you then you can modify it or stop doing it all together. As technology and social media grows, people are becoming more and more comfortable sharing the experiences they’ve had at local businesses. Concentrating on the total package your offering your customers is more important than ever.

Meet Our Staff – Wil Cardona

Tom's Foreign Auto Parts Wil Cardona

Wil’s been on our sales team since 2007 serving our local retail and commercial customers. In his younger years Wil worked for us as a dismantler after graduating from W F Kaynor RVTS in 1990 where he studied Auto Body Technology. He left Tom’s to work at a local dealership selling cars. In 2007 Wil came back to work for us in sales and hasn’t looked back.

Wil’s got a positive attitude and excellent customer service skills. If prompt, accurate and courteous service is what you’re after then Wil is your guy. With years of customer service experience under his belt, he continues to shine as a star employee here at Tom’s Foreign. He’s also fluent in Spanish and provides top notch service to all of our Spanish speaking customers.

Wil is a family man and currently lives in Waterbury with his wife and kids. When he’s not spending time with the family you can find him deep into his music. He’s a music fanatic when he’s not at work and is currently the lead singer for one of CT’s premier classic rock bands, Unfinished Business.

Give Wil a call at
800-255-6656 ext 101
email wil@tomsforeign.com

Pictures of used auto parts? We’ve got that!

Pictures Pictures Pictures! A picture says a thousand words right? Of course it does and in the ever changing world of buying, selling and communicating, pictures and video have started to play a vital role in our lives. Everything around us uses photography to convey a message, sell us a product or to accent our daily lives. Pictures play a really important role in the automotive industry for buying and selling parts. For over a hundred years, mechanics have used diagrams to fix cars while salesmen have used brochures to sell cars. Without photography in the Auto industry who knows where we’d be right now.

By now you’re probably wondering what this has to do with auto parts and especially used auto parts. Well a lot of people don’t realize that taking pictures is a huge deal for us in the parts business. Dealerships have diagrams to see what their new parts look like and how they fit together. Aftermarket manufactures usually have file photos of each SKU to show what the part looks like. As a used seller we don’t have any documentation on the parts we sell. Often time’s we can’t even ID the part until it’s removed from the vehicle.

Relaying the correct part information to our buyers is one thing we put a lot of time and effort into. Every single one of our 50,000 used auto parts is different. Every part has a different amount of wear, different colors, part numbers, sizes etc. It can get mind numbing at times to think about it. When you buy used auto parts online, knowing what you’re getting is half the battle. Unfortunately in our industry it’s much easier to have a bad experience then a positive one but at Tom’s Foreign we’re out to change that.

Our inventory is ever changing so meeting the demands of our internet customers has been challenging. Imagine having hundreds of parts coming in and going out each day, every one different in its own right. Our solution has been to work the picture taking process into our everyday business. All of our employees understand the importance of clean parts and how a picture can be the difference between making a sale and not making a sale. We use wireless camera technology, custom photo booths and custom software to stream line capturing pictures. Each part that we handle off the car gets cleaned and then photographed before it’s stored inside our warehouse.

When you’re shopping for a used auto part online it’s very important that you know who you’re dealing with and what you’re buying. The sellers you want to deal with are the ones that are going the extra mile. Taking pictures of our inventory was no small task, our point and shoot cameras have each clocked over 1 million pictures and counting with our server housing over 300,000 pictures of our current inventory. The feedback we’ve gotten from our customers has been exceptional and it’s made all the extra effort worth it.

So next time you’re searching for a used auto part online, take a look at who it is you’re buying from. Are they using generic file photos? Do they have some long speech on their website about how hard it is and how it raises costs? Or do they just completely refuse to do it? These aren’t places you want to buy from. Whether you buy from us or not, buy from someone that goes that extra mile. Help us push our industry forward by demanding the best from your used auto parts seller.

Cars we can’t Afford : Mercedes SLC?

Reports say that Mercedes Benz has confirmed production of a new baby version of it’s SLS super car. An interview with Mercedes-Benz head of design, Gordon Wagener has shed some light on the plans for a new sport coupe to compete more directly with Porsches 911 offerings. The SLS priced at $190,ooo is an amazing car but it’s high price tag and specs put it a step above the normal competition.

Not many details have been revealed but so far it’s known that the SLC will be a front engine rear wheel drive coupe (no gullwing doors) wearing AMG badges and sporting a smaller AMG engine then it’s bigger brother. While no details on pricing have been openly discussed expect it to be comparable to current model 911’s. In other words the “baby” version of the SLS will still be more then most of us can afford but for those that can it may just shape up to be a serious contender.

New York City Adopts A new line of Nissan Taxi Cabs

Earlier this month New York announced that it had chosen it’s Taxi model for the next 10 years. The Nissan NV200 van is set to start replacing the NYC cab line up as soon as 2014.This compact commuter van will be a nice change from the large yet some how cramped american sedans it replaces. The NV200 offers New Yorkers a lot more for their money with USB charging ports, a glass panoramic roof for great views of the city, large package and luggage capacity and sliding doors to make entering and exiting the cab a little safer for those pedaling around you.

This is great news for Nissan who is sure to reap some free exposure when these new Cabs become the face of NYC. They’ll not only be every where on the streets but hollywood will surely start using them for movies that are set in the big apple. Even better for Nissan is that many other cities look to New York when they make desicisions on their Taxi programs and many of the large Cab companies around the country like to keep their cars uniform.

Among the obvious benefits Nissan will see from this partnership with NY is that the demand for these convenient little vans may spew over to Nissan’s retail business. The introduction of a consumer model of this van in the US is pretty likely now making the added Cab exposure a great advertising tool.

Readers Rides now get $100 Autozone Giftcard!

We want to expand our readers rides section in a big way. At Tom’s Foreign Auto Parts we’re all car guys that are always interested in seeing new cars. We want to see what our readers and customers have done with their rides. To give a little more motivation, we’re giving out a $100 Autozone gift card to the owner of each car we pick. A pretty sweet way to get some recognition for all the hard work you’ve done.

So whats the catch? There is none. Just use the Submit your Ride form to enter in all the details about your car. Be sure to include pictures along with some valid contact info. If we pick you car you’ll not only get a write up in our blog but you’ll also have a chance to be featured in our print newsletter along with out email newsletters. Any modified car is eligible to be a featured ride so don’t hold back. Submit your car today!